Osteoarthritis of the knee is a fairly common condition that affects millions of U.S. adults. It is commonly referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis because it is a condition that naturally diminishes the cartilage between the joints. As the cartilage thins and leaves less shock absorption, knee pain, swelling or stiffness may result. Here we will address the causes and symptoms connected to osteoarthritis of the knee and what you can do to begin healing.
Am I at risk for developing knee osteoarthritis?
Age, heredity, gender, stress injuries, athletics, weight, and certain illnesses can all contribute to the development of osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Athletics: If you are an avid soccer or tennis player or long distance runner, you area at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. If you participate in these activities, be cautious and consult with your physician about the health of your knees. It is important to remember that regular exercise can also enhance the strength of the knees, thus diminishing the chance of developing osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Repetitive stress injuries: Depending on the type of job you have, you may be constantly lifting, squatting, kneeling or moving heavy objects. All of these motions can put additional stress on the knees.
- Other illnesses: If you have rheumatoid arthritis (the second most common form of arthritis), or a metabolic disorder, you are more likely to get osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Gender: women over the age of 55 are far more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee than men.
- Heredity: A genetic mutation or inherited abnormalities that influence the shape of bones surrounding the knee joint can both cause osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Weight: For every pound of additional weight, you put 3-4 pounds of extra stress on your knees.
- Age: A person of any age can get osteoarthritis of the knee, but as we age and cartilage diminishes, those chances increase.
What does osteoarthritis of the knee feel like?
The condition is identified by stiffness in the knee, a feeling of warmth in the knee area, swelling, a creaking sound when the knee moves, or pain when you are active.
After you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee, there are several treatments to pursue before you choose surgery. Weight loss, exercise, anti inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, physical and occupational therapy can all help strengthen and improve the condition.